hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA


December 13, 2012

50 marathons in 50 states


And most certainly not because he has finished nine Iron Man Triathlons — the ultimate endurance challenge, each consisting of a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and finally a 26.2-mile marathon run, raced in that order without a break.

Most Iron Man events are superhuman feats. They have a strict time limit of 17 hours, starting at 7 a.m., and finishing at midnight. His final marathon state happened to be Idaho and it was an Iron Man event.

All that is pretty cozy with the guy who approaches 50. And it’s all relevant to a runner’s life. But the bigger picture is one bent on the vicissitudes of life.

Here was a fellow who dropped out of high school as a junior because his father died and he wanted to help support the family.

He was already a decent hockey player at Central Catholic High School, where he now serves as an assistant coach. His future was suddenly in limbo.

So, he enrolls at Northern Essex, looking to rediscover himself, does well, and gets accepted to Bentley College, one of the better schools around.

There, he tries running. Goolkasian joins the cross country team as a walk-on and suddenly discovers talent he never knew existed.

The more he ran, the better he enjoyed it — a localite’s answer to Forrest Gump.

Goolkasian completed the Disney Marathon this past January, then followed that up three months later by running the Boston Marathon for the 22nd time. This feat might pale in comparison to another he accomplished.

He was among an elite class of 370 athletes who ran separate marathons back-to-back on two different on coasts 3,000 miles apart. He completed the Boston Marathon on Patriots Day. Eight days later, he was in California running the Big Sur Marathon in Carmel.

As for marathons in all seven continents, on target are runs in South Africa, Asia and another in logistically the toughest and coldest continent — Antarctica. He also plans to do one in Iceland and another along the Great Wall of China.

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